Free festival aims to bring community together

L-R: Technical services officer Matt at the Memo Healesville, Ms Nolan and Your Library children services officers Rose. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

A free event is set to bring the community together with a festive vibe in Healesville.

Connecting Community Festival will be held in and around the Memo Healesville and the Healesville Library between 10am and 5pm on Sunday 10 March.

Connecting Community Festival coordinator Catherine Nolan said the event is funded by the Yarra Ranges Council and Bendigo Bank with the vision of connecting community members.

“It’s a one-day event and going to be held at the Healesville pop-up space, inside the library and the Memo,” she said.

“It’s a cultural experience where visitors can get inspired by local musicians and broaden their perspective.

“I’d really love some of the children in our community to be able to come along as well.”

In the Memo, Poets’ Breakfast will mark the beginning of the festival at 10am followed by Tall Tales ‘The Butcher, The Bakers and The Undertaker’ at 11am.

“Poets’ Breakfast is going to be run by Andrew Darling featuring a wonderful bush poet called Laurie Webb but also people who’ve written poems themselves can come along and put their name down on a chalkboard and read the poems that they’ve written,” Ms Nolan said.

“Tall Tales is an event run by Kersten Gentle and it started way back in 1992 as part of the Healesville Gateway Festival, and it showcases our elder community.

“This year it’s called The Butcher, The Bakers and The Undertaker and it’s featuring Eric Duff who ran a butcher shop for 50 years in Healesville, Lyn and Neville Johnson who ran a Bakery in Healesville for many years and Robbie Heritage who ran Heritage Funerals for many years.

“They are going to be interviewed by Kersten and talk about how it was running businesses in Healesville.”

Writers and Rhythm, which is about people who write their own songs and poems, will highlight the festival from 2.30pm to 5pm while Country Women’s Association (CWA) Healesville will be providing afternoon tea from 3.30pm in the Memo.

In the Healesville Library, Kids’ Quiet Space activities and morning coffee will be prepared to kick off the day.

Zine Making is the next activity in the library at 12.15pm followed by Wayapa demonstration at 12.30pm which will begin outside at 12.15pm.

There will be full of a festive vibe at the Healesville pop-up space outside the library with a bunch of stalls of community groups as well as free food and drinks.

Badger Creek Primary School students will perform music from 10.30am and U3A Healesville ukulele group will start performance at 11am.

From 12pm, the opening ceremony and welcome to the country will be held while a free barbecue will be being provided by Healesville Uniting Church and free drinks by the Healesville SES Unit.

Stilt Walker Amelia the Magnificent will hang around the pop-up space from 12pm to 2pm.

Wayapa demonstration will be held by Sharni Steele at 12.15pm and will be continued in the library from 12.30pm.

U3A Healesville will perform line dancing outside at 12.30pm followed by a performance of Irish dancers from Victorian Irish Dance Academy.

Soulsville will have a one-hour gospel-style concert with choir, band and soloists from 1pm.

Ms Nolan said she felt really proud to be able to bring everybody together.

“I’ve been running Soulsville for the last 10 years without funding and also have been running Writers and Rhythm for the last 10 years without funding,” she said.

“I was encouraged to apply for funding to showcase those two things.

“Little did I know that was going to have to cover all these other things like providing free food and it turned into a one-day festival.”

The festival would be held inside the Memo if it’s raining on the day.

“If it’s a hot day, bring a small umbrella to provide shade and also bring your own folding chair for outside,” Ms Nolan said.

“We do have those tables and chairs but they won’t accommodate everybody.

“I do encourage people to arrive early for the seated events in the memo.”

People who have problems with mobility will be also able to enjoy the festival in the Memo where comfortable chairs are available.

“We’re going to open the windows and for the people who have problems with mobility, they can sit up in the comfort of the Memo with very comfortable back chairs, look out over the pop-up space,” Ms Nolan said.